Health Benefits of Green Caviar (Lato)

In the West, eating seaweed may be seen as weird or as an “Asian thing”. Traditionally, seaweeds provide nutrition to the marine life living underwater. But we have started to get creative in the early kicks of human civilization. In most countries of Asia, where seaweed grows in the coasts, it is harvested and incorporated to the cuisine and dishes. Just like in China, Japan and Korea. (2)

In the Philippines, the most popular type of seaweed that is eaten is called “lato”. It is usually served raw, along with onions and tomatoes in a salad, dressed with a hefty amount of bagoong (fish paste). You may also recognize lato, or sea grape under the names arorosep or arorosip. (1)

When you bite into lato, the juices burst into your mouth the same way that a juicy piece of grape does. Thus, it’s English name, “sea grape”. It also has another name in English – green caviar – because it resembles caviar, but just in a green color. (1) (5)

Lato tastes good, and is a great side to heavier meat dishes. It’s unique texture baffles people because of the crunch that is makes, followed by the burst of juices. (5)

But did you know that this spread of green actually carries lots of minerals and nutrients that are good for you? It’s highly nutritious so even just a small serving will provide you with the right amount of healthy minerals and nutrients that you need. (2)


Here are the numerous health benefits of lato. 


Green caviar contains iodine 

Iodine is an element that is heavily found in the beads of lato. Iodine is also the main mineral that supports your thyroid gland in producing the necessary hormones that are needed to make sure that your growth is regulated, energy production is sufficient and the repair of the damaged cells in your body is continuous. (3)

However, our body does not naturally get sufficient amounts of iodine. That’s why the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine is 150mcg per day. Good news for you, because lato just provides that recommended daily intake in just one serving! (4)

A small serving of green caviar has about 20~50 mg of iodine, already. (5)

One of the benefits of iodine is to avoid any thyroid problems. Because a deficiency of iodine may lead to the underproduction of the hormones needed to regulate your body. Unfortunately, a third of the world population are at risk of iodine deficiency. Avoid this statistic by incorporating lato into your daily meals. (6)

Aside from avoiding thyroid problems, enough iodine also prevents unintentional weight gain, pregnancy-related issues (if you are pregnant) and swelling of the neck. (6)


Green caviar contains tyrosine

Tyrosine, on the other hand, is an amino acid that stimulates the production of special neurotransmitters. Such as dopamine, the “happiness” neurotransmitter, adrenaline and noradrenaline, the neurotransmitter responsible for our flight or fight response, thyroid hormones and melanin, the pigment in our skin responsible for its color. (7)

Tyrosine increases a person’s alertness and memory, and makes a person more effective in managing stress on stressful situations. Generally, tyrosine is found in protein-heavy foods, such as in chicken meat, cheese, milk and dairy products. However, there are still tyrosine supplements that can be taken for extra tyrosine in the body. (7)

If you are vegetarian or vegan, however, tyrosine in dairy and meat is not an option. You may opt for the supplements, but most aren’t made vegetarian, however. That’s where lato comes to the rescue. It’s high amounts of tyrosine, for cheap and in a natural way. 


Green caviar is high in omega-3 fatty acid

Omega-3 is a good type of oil that is found in fish meat, and marine harvests – including, lato. Omega-3 is generally an important type of fatty acid in the body, because of its numerous health benefits. That’s why omega-3 supplements are some of the most popular supplements in the market. (8)

In fact, Omega-3 is one of the nutrients that are studied extensively, because of its various health impacts. (8)

Omega-3 has actually been proven to improve the symptoms of those suffering from depression and anxiety. In fact, a certain type of omega-3, omega-3 EPA has been found to be as effective as antidepressant drugs. (8)


Omega-3 has also been proven to improve risk factors to heart disease. It reduces the triglyceride levels, reduces blood pressure, raise good HDL cholesterol levels and keep platelets from clotting together, or blocking the arterial walls. (8)

Aside from these benefits, there have been countless of studies proving that omega-3 improves eye health, is good to take during pregnancy to improve the baby’s health, suppresses ADHD symptoms in children, can fight inflammation and can fight autoimmune diseases. (8)

While omega-3 supplements are largely available in the market, you can get your natural serving from lato, itself. In fact, a 100g serving of lato only has four calories, omega-3 being one of them. (9)


Green caviar is high in vitamins and minerals

As mentioned earlier, a 100g serving of lato only has four calories: omega-3, calcium, potassium and vitamins C and A. (9)

Additional amounts of calcium is essential in order to aid in the bone growth and resiliency of bones in your body. It is also essential for your oral health. Moreover, studies have shown that additional amounts of calcium in the body may prevent cancer and diabetes. (10)

Potassium, on the other hand, is important in supporting blood pressure, making the blood vessels stronger, and muscle strength. A deficiency of potassium may lead to fatigue, weakness and constipation. Potassium is taken from bananas, beets and beans. However, they are also found in large levels of green caviar. (11)

Vitamin C is a good vitamin to aid your immune system and fight off diseases, while vitamin A improves your eye health and is a good anti-oxidant. (12) (13)


Learned more about green caviar? Share this to others!




Lazada Special Offer


Panlasang Pinoy Recipes™ is a food blog that compiles delicious and easy to prepare recipes from various sources around the web. We claim no credit for any images, recipes and videos featured on this blog unless otherwise noted. Read More